Monday, January 28, 2008

What are fractals?

I thought it to be obvious but in case you’ve been wondering what form of art I create they are called fractals. They are a sub class of 2 dimensional digital art that I do on a computer.

The computer, though an intregal part of the design process is NOT the creator of the art, the artist is. It only facilitates the millions of mathematical iterations necessary to create the design. Without the artist inputting the formulas that control the shape and color the computer would be useless.

Once rendered, my fractals are printed on various materials, the most common being photographic paper and then framed to finish the piece.

Let me try and define fractals for you in a little more detail. They are geometric patterns that are repeated over and over creating self-similar shapes, many of which are found in nature. Examples such as fern leafs, trees, snowflakes and clouds are but a few fractal designs that naturally occur.

Trying to define fractals to a layman can be rather confusing but a common dictionary definition of fractal is this: "A geometric pattern that is repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that can not be represented by classical geometry. Fractals are used especially in computer modeling of irregular patterns and structures in nature."

Fractals as an art “style” first captured my attention during the psychedelic poster art heyday of the 60’s rock scene. Although the term “fractal” would not officially be associated with this form of art until the next decade, these colorful, artists with “fractalized” minds certainly created free form designs that adorned these early posters.

All of this aside, I use mathematics as my “paint” and my computer as my “brushes.” Just as if a more traditional painter would dip their brush into the paint and then apply it to the canvas I select a formula and turn it into a piece of art with the aid of my computer.

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